Summer Snowballs offer cool treat

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, July 8, 2014

By Monique Roth

Swimming pools, ceiling fans and splash pads are a few of the ways River Parishes residents are fighting to stay cool during the blistering hot summer months, but none are as delicious as another option: snowballs. 

Although snowballs may seem like just a simple combination of syrup and ice, there’s an interesting history behind the summertime’s most popular dessert. 

The tasty treat actually got its start in Baltimore during the Industrial Revolution when wagons carrying ice blocks from New York to the southern United States would pass through and give away ice shavings to kids, whose parents would then add flavoring. Snowballs remain a Baltimore mainstay to this day, set apart by a signature dollop of marshmallow cream.

The New Orleans area snowball tradition dates back to when vendors shaved ice blocks by hand and offered just a small selection of flavorings. Like other culinary classics, Louisiana has put several tasty twists on traditional Northern snowballs, to — well let’s just be honest — make them even more delicious.

Stands across the state have added condensed milk, evaporated milk whipped cream, chopped cherries, chocolate syrup and even gummy bears to the tops of their towering treats.

In addition to toppings, stand owners have also rolled out several innovative flavors. 

Zack and Hannah Cambre began running Big Chief’s Cool Treats in April. The snowball stand, located at 373 Greenwood Drive in LaPlace, has been in operation for 39 years.

Zack said the stand’s new flavors this year include doberge cake, sour Warhead extreme and sour super fruit. Hannah said Georgia Peach, another new flavor, is her favorite this year. 

The Cambres said their stand’s most popular flavors this summer have included wedding cake, strawberry cheesecake, ice cream flavor and chocolate, which is homemade and uses Hershey’s syrup.

The couple said the strangest snowball request so far this year has been a tiger’s blood snowball stuffed with ice cream and topped with crushed pickles. 

“Just seeing the same faces everyday come back for our snowballs makes the experience satisfying,” Hannah said.